Greetings, one and all. I've been a member of OCMB for a couple years now, and have decided to come post and share over here. It has a little bit of a different flavor. Same user name, there as here. I was in the cult for about ten years, beginning in the early 70s. Joined staff in '74, I think, at a mission in California. My employment ("volunteerism"?) terminated abruptly in 1983, when a member of the Guardians Office ushered me and my then-husband OUT of her office and OUT of the building, the side door locking behind us, because my ex dared to question some of the activities of the Guardians Office back then. In a way, it was a relief. Even though we didn't suffer some of the horror stories I've read about in this forum and in other places, it was plenty bad enough, in terms of chronic sleep deprivation, poverty, and emotional abuse and duress. There's goldenrod on both of us. I was pregnant with my second at the time, so my attention was on other matters. After giving birth and sorting myself out a bit, I went back to school, then got a job. And life has continued to blossom and be truly worth living ever since. I liked what one of the other posters said about how life is just life. It has its ups and downs and nothing's really due to much of anything. You just muddle thru, and make the most of it you can. But I think I can look back now over those hellish years and be thankful that they didn't bleed any more money out of me than they did. I mean, yes, they stole eight years when I could have been making some money (the last year I was being paid maybe $10 to $20 a week for my "volunteer" activities). I'm also thankful in a bizarre, masochistic way, that I went thru all of that when I was young. It really toughened me up. I think I was maybe 22 or so when I joined staff, and I was 31 when I was booted off. Of course, it left me being skeptical and mistrustful of all religions, and a little spooky about Amway and stuff like that, but you take what you can how it comes at you. Plus, like someone else here said, it sure has left me with a vast appreciation of the small gifts of life. Being able to lounge around on a Sunday morning with coffee and the newspaper, going to see a movie with my new hubby, shopping with my daughters, watching the finches decimate the contents of their feeders, it's all something to be greatly cherished. Don't know if I'd quite be so grateful had I not been kept up until all hours, screamed at, told I was riddled with overts and withholds, all the stuff you guys who have been on staff know all so well, day after day after month after year. Yes, I'm a little damaged and bent, but in my 26 years out, I haven't met anyone who wasn't. So, that's me the short story. Looking forward to being part of this community.